My roommate was friends with Kahea Hart and his beautiful wife Hiriata, and invited us to be his guest at their house for dinner. Knowing that his wife was Tahitian, I had visions of poisson cru (marinated raw fish salad) and Hinano beer floating through my head and couldn't pass up the invite. Upon arrival, mountains of delicious food, a beautiful home, and warm, gracious hosts greeted us. As I would come to find out, these dinners, where they feed anyone who walks through the door and treat that person like royalty, were the norm at the Hart house.
Located in O'ahu's North Shore neighborhood known as Velzyland, which was at one time nearly a ghetto, Kahea and his father have done a ton of work to make the house look like it does today. “We totally gutted the whole place. We put in hardwood floors, tiled the entire bathroom and entryway, put in new sinks, installed crown molding, new doors, recessed lighting, everything,” says Kahea. And the best part? “Everything was free because my dad does remodels, and the stuff they got rid of, we took.” Their hard work and long hours have paid off–the place is awesome.
There is a constant flow of traffic going in and out of the Hart compound that represents some of the most exotic surfing destinations in the world. “Raimana (Kahea's brother-in-law), Hira Terinatoofa, and Michelle Bure (up and coming Tahitian ripper), just left. Right now we have Yonoske from Japan, Five-Cent (a.k.a. Betet), Dede and Dedi–all from Indo–staying here,” says Kahea as he watches Dedi wash some dishes. All of these guests need to eat and that immense responsibility falls in the hands of the ladies. “Dinners are pretty extravagant. Everyone here likes to eat, and when you've got fifteen people to feed, the girls really bust their asses to take care of the boys–which is great” (If you ever find yourself there for dinner, make sure to get to the rice bowl before the Indo boys or else no rice for you).
The waves aren't always perfect, so the troops need entertainment, and that comes in the form of a 34-inch flat-screen television–a Christmas gift from Raimana. “I've never had a TV that big, and for years we only had one channel. But now that we've got so many people staying here, we have to keep everyone occupied.”
Neighborhoods change, and V-Land is no exception. Across the Kam Highway. from Kahea's, an upscale community is being built on the beach, changing the neighborhood forever. “I wish they wouldn't call it Sunset Colony–because this is V-Land and the real name is Kaunala Bay. I can't wait to see all of their houses get washed away by the next tidal wave!”
Kahea Hart's Velzyland Compound At A Glance
–Bought in 2002 for 235,000 dollars
–Size of house: 1,400 square feet
–Commute time to V-Land: “Three-minute walk, two-minute paddle, and five minutes to catch a wave–depending on the crowd.”